Lip Balm 101: Avoid These Drying Ingredients

Your lips have three layers: the outer protective layer called the stratum corneum, the dermis and the epidermis. Chapped lips are caused when theprotective layer gets dry– which can beuncomfortable and embarrassing.


The best way to rectify chapped lipsis to invest in a balm – but not all balms are made equal. When you buy a lip balm, make sure it is packed with moisturizing and hydrating ingredients.

Instead of buying cheap chapstick with drying ingredients, try Grown Alchemist lip balm and other balm products made with ingredients like antioxidants and vitamins. These are the ingredients that can help hydrate and moisturize your lips.

Next time you go shopping for a new lip balm, check out the ingredient list and make sure to avoid the products that are made with any of these components:

Salicylic Acid

New-York based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner shared with Refinery 29 that, even though this acid removes dead skin cells and softens your lips at first,it can cause dryness in the long run. In addition, this ingredient can also cause inflammation and irritation – which no one wants. The purpose of a balm is to sooth your lips, not irritate them!

Menthol &Phenol

Menthol and phenol are actually alcohols. These agents may feel like they are cooling, but in reality,they are making your lips more sensitive and drier. If you have sensitive skin, any product with these ingredients is a big no-no.

Castor Oil

Castor oil is made from the Ricinus communis plant, which contains ricinoleic acid. This acid is great for hair, nails and skin – but has less than favourable effects on lips. This is because castor oil is a skin irritant that can cause severe chapping – which is exactly the opposite of what you want out of a lip balm. Look for balms that contain alternative oils – like coconut, almond or olive oil.


Camphor is an oil extract from trees, which is commonly used in balms. This ingredient can reduce irritation and itching, but when applied to broken skin (i.e. chapped lips), it can have less than desirable effects. Camphor causes a tingly sensation that can give the illusion it is working magic when, in reality, it’s just drying out your lips.


Hate to break it to you, but it’s time that you retire those delicious smelling and tasting strawberry lip smackers. The fact of the matter is that balms with fragrance are actually not all that great for you.

Diane Madfes, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology, shared with Prevention that “Many people actually have allergies or other reactions to fragrances that are put in lip balms to make them smell and taste a little better, and those are really the cause of most of the irritant reactions.”

Fragrance is known to irritate skin, so it should come as little surprise that it can also irritate and dehydrate your lips.

Lip balms can work wonder for your lips, as long as you are aware of what’s in the product you are purchasing. When you are purchasing a skincare product, you are investing in your skin!